Flood: Governor Okowa Proffers Solution
By Collins Mbakwe
Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta has called on the federal government to build new dams and dredge major rivers in the country to prevent flooding.
Mr Okowa, who made the call while addressing journalists after visiting flood victims at some Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) camps, said five persons lost their lives to flood in the state.
He also urged the federal government to make efforts at de-silting Rivers Niger and Benue to deepen their depths to accommodate a high volume of flood water.
He said the best way to end the loss of lives and valuables to flood was for the government to take proactive steps towards stalling perennial flooding each time neighbouring countries opened their dams.
He commiserated with families that lost persons and property to the flood, adding that the state government had established 11 holding camps to take care of displaced persons.
He said that daily feeding of the IDPs was a priority and that medical facilities and personnel were in various camps to take care of the medical needs of the inmates to avoid a possible outbreak of diseases.
“I was informed by the Secretary to the State Government, Chief Patrick Ukah, when the team briefed me on Monday, that as a result of the flood, five deaths were recorded, not inside the camps but across the state.
“We have 11 camps that are currently in place and some of them are in schools and some others are in high places in some locations where the schools have been overrun by the flood water.
“Climate change, obviously, is becoming very impactful globally and it is beginning to affect a lot of issues. The sea levels are rising and so is the water level.
“Another issue is the dam in Cameroon. It always causes a major overflow in our river.
“From the preliminary information I have, what could be done is to build our own holding dams here in Nigeria and a regular de-silting of our rivers.
“And, that is not going to be the state government’s function. It is that of the federal government because of the type of dam that will be built across the river. So, it is going to be a major dam.
“So, I believe that it is important that the federal government will look into it very quickly and begin to start the process,” he said.
“When we look at the pains that come to our people cumulatively as a result of the flood and the destruction it brings, it is so huge and runs into several billions.
“So, I think that it is something that the federal government would consider building a dam across River Niger to prevent this from happening.
“We are immediately taking care of the people in the camp, which is the first thing to do by providing food, security and healthcare for them here.
“They have been organised into groups and they are cooking for themselves and we ensure that there is regular supply of food items to cook. So, we are sure that they are not suffering from any form of hunger.
“We can see doctors and nurses here, living under the same conditions as the IDPs just to provide health care. In two of the camps, some pregnant women have already been delivered by medical personnel.
“You can see that they are well taken care of. In previous years, after their return to their homes, we have always provided some form of assistance and we will also do so this year.
“We are always compassionate,” the governor said.
He called on donor agencies and well-spirited individuals to partner government in alleviating the plights of those affected by the flood, adding that his administration would assist them.
The camps visited by the governor included those at Ogbe-Afor Primary School and Oneh Primary School in Asaba and Ewulu Mixed Grammar School, Ewulu in Aniocha South Local Government Area.
Ogbe-Afor Primary School camp has 1,548 IDPs, Oneh Primary School, 1,684 IDPs and 1,475 in Ewulu camp.